482. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 28 January 1800 *
I can call Spirits from the vasty deep – said Owen Glendower  – & Owen Glendower believed that Sprits would come when he calld them.  – I can invite Grosvenor Bedford – but to believe that Grosvenor Bedford will come when I invite him, is a stretch of belief which requires a more gum-elastical faith than Heaven has allotted me. Now if you were a dancing bear, & I had a string tied to the ring in your bearships nose then perhaps there might be a slight attraction to Bristol. Or if you were a piece of iron & I a great loadstone. Or if I were a turtle & you an Alderman  – but he will come said I
[Southey leaves gap to imitate contents of the letter]
so after a longer gap of expectation than you find in the letter – I eat up the laver. 
But Poole will send me some more – so make haste Grosvenor –
What have I more to say? simply nothing. to register the rising & fallings of my health – Fahrenheit, were but to teize you with my own uncomfortable feelings & disappointed expectations, – & I am leading a life of idleness. come you & vary it.
I have heard nothing of Carlisles Icarization.  how ended it? was the bird never hatchd, or did he fall with feeble wings? I have a great desire to have these experiments succeed – it would be a fine thing for people with corns Grosvenor – & a man in the gout might take the air – then in wet weather the saving of umbrellas by getting above the clouds – & to catch larks instead of bat-fowling – every man his own hawk –
Of our Westminster Library  I have heard good news – as how it has played the whale with the Jonah of the city.  do you know the man who told me this – a Mr Beloe  – not one <he> of the British Critic  gang of thick & thin – believers – but an odd man who talks in a dialect of his own, which puzzled my me confoundedly.
One of your last letters Grosvenor hinted at possibilities that gave me hopes or expectations too serious to be trifled with – as if you had a view of settling. with all my heart I wish this – I want you anchored – not for ever floating before every wind with no port in view.
God bless you
Jany. 28. 1800
* Address: To/ Grosvenor C. Bedford Esqr / Exchequer / Westminster
Postmark: B / JAN 29 / 1800
Endorsement: 28 Jany 1800
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 90–91. BACK
 Laver is a type of edible seaweed. Southey did not write a poem on its origin, but see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, p. 21 for his note on the possibility of a poem on ‘Laver; how it was ambrosia’. BACK
 Anthony Carlisle had a long-standing interest in the possibility of mechanical flight. He collected data on flight in birds and mammals and also theorised about and sketched flying apparatus; see Henry Wilkinson, ‘Aërostation’, Notes and Queries, 2 (14 September 1850), 251. BACK
 The Mr Beloe who gave Southey this information is unidentified. He was not, as Southey makes clear, William Beloe (1758–1817; DNB), clergyman, author and joint proprietor of the British Critic. BACK